Global lawmakers grill Facebook exec; Zuckerberg's a no-show

BRITAIN: Parliament Seizes Internal Facebook Docs

BRITAIN: Parliament Seizes Internal Facebook Docs

In a statement regarding the documents, which Mr. Collins said he needed more time to look over, Facebook said in a statement that the "the engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity".

British MPs joined together with fellow lawmakers from the parliaments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia and Singapore in an unusual move aimed at emphasising worldwide solidarity on the issue. The committee has no power to summon or sanction people, and can not penalize businesses. "This is an unprecedented situation we're dealing with".

Facebook has stumbled from one mess to another this year as it grapples with continuing fallout from Russia's use of the platform to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which user data was harnessed in a bid to help candidate Donald Trump, and a huge security breach involving millions of accounts.

Damian Collins, head of a parliamentary inquiry into fake news and disinformation, quoted from internal Facebook emails seized from U.S. software company Six4Three under a rarely used parliamentary enforcement procedure.

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook from app developer Six4Three, which is in a legal dispute with Facebook. Zuckerberg has been questioned by American lawmakers, but he has so far not appeared before those of other nations.

The documents are under seal by court order in California.

The firm had improperly accessed data on millions of Facebook users, prompting Britain's regulators to fine Facebook earlier this year for the security lapse, though the company has said it intends to appeal. According to internal company documents, a Facebook engineer warned the social media giant of a data issue involving Russian Federation in 2014 - earlier than Facebook has previously publicly admitted. Collins said his committee would not release the full cache of documents "at this time'".

However, the disclosure raises more questions about how Facebook dealt with Russian attempts to interfere with the service.

Collins said the data issue was raised in an email from a Facebook engineer.

Lawmakers from around the world on Tuesday excoriated "frat-boy billionaire" Mark Zuckerberg for refusing to testify at their hearing in London - leaving his minions to take a brutal grilling next to an empty chair reserved for the CEO.

Immediately under siege from the legislators, Allan at one point acknowledged that Facebook had "damaged public trust by some of the actions we've taken". At one point, he concluded an answer with the words "not that I'm aware of". In the past, the United Kingdom has threatened Zuckerberg with a summons if he failed to testify.

Alluding to the Six4Three emails, Labour MP Clive Efford said the committee had "seen evidence" regarding the closure of third-party apps on the network which "could not pay large sums of money for mobile advertising" and closing apps "so that Facebook can move into that area and make money".

"So Mr Zuckerberg's decision not to appear here at Westminster to me speaks volumes".

A view of the International Grand Committee with representation from nine countries' parliaments and Mark Zuckerberg's non-attendance at the U.K. Parliament in London on November 27, 2018. Lawmakers criticised Zuckerberg for not being present at the hearing.

Those legislators came to the hearing on Tuesday - the first such joint session hosted by the House of Commons since 1933 - incensed and armed with a litany of complaints.

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